Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

Winter Shoes/Boots

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Old 10-24-17, 12:06 PM
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MBurke
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Winter Shoes/Boots

I am considering buying a pair of winter shoes or boots. I road ride (no mountain biking)
I do use SPD cleats though.
Iv been using Gore slip over booties over my shoes but the bottoms are getting tattered...They have lasted two seasons. They are windproof..... I have had great luck with them and they have kept my feet warm just fine.
Just thinking about getting a pair of shoes or boots that would be insulated and windproof.
Anyone here use Winter Shoes/Boots ? Any suggestions on some good ones ?

Thanks
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Old 10-24-17, 01:14 PM
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Yes, I have the Specialized Defroster winter SPD shoes. I have put thousands of miles on mine from riding my winter road bike to routinely running errands with my hybrid. I like them better than booties alone, but sometimes add rain booties as needed or insulated booties when it gets below 30*. They weren't too expensive and my LBS had them in stock.
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Old 10-24-17, 01:50 PM
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Winter-specific cycling shoes are not common and tend to be expensive. Have you given serious thought to switching to flat pedals in the winter and just using plain old winter boots? In the winter, I haven't found there to be many advantages to clipless pedals for commuting and recreational riding, but many benefits to simple platform pedals and warm winter boots.
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Old 10-25-17, 04:21 AM
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I've been through the process of looking for winter footwear for cycling. I looked at bicycle-specific winter cycling shoes. They were expensive and required cleats. I tried bicycle shoe covers over my running shoes but the bindings frailed and my socks got wet anyways.

I looked at overshoes but NEOs cost the same as a new pair of boots and the affordable style I found at Canadian Tire didn't have the right size plus, the mfr didn't make them any more.

Then I ran across a sale at my local outdoor store. So I purchased winter hiking boots on a season-end sale for $57. And that's what I wear for winter cycling. I can walk in them too when I get off my bike.

Don't forget to wear spikes so you won't slip when you get off your bike.
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Old 10-25-17, 04:58 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions...all good advise...I like the hiking boot/shoe idea. I use Shimano pedals that have two sides already. SPD on one side and Flat on the other..so the hiking boot idea would work for me. I just like want to keep putting the base miles during the winter. I enjoy riding this time of year...bundle up and put some miles on. Its always an adventure to ride in the winter. I don't like to ride in the snow but if its dry and 25 deg. I'm riding.

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Old 10-25-17, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by dh024 View Post
Winter-specific cycling shoes are not common and tend to be expensive. Have you given serious thought to switching to flat pedals in the winter and just using plain old winter boots? In the winter, I haven't found there to be many advantages to clipless pedals for commuting and recreational riding, but many benefits to simple platform pedals and warm winter boots.
While I agree that they are expensive, a winter boot can last for years. Spending a couple of hundred dollars for a pair of shoes that last 10 or 15 years isn't that onerous.

As for clipless, I find them to be highly advantageous. Powering over snow and ice is much easier when you can pull up on the pedal and the clipless pedal adds a degree of security that platform pedals doesn't. You platform guys put all kinds of pins on your pedals to keep the shoe attached but those only act as little razor blades if you miss the pedal.

I also know all the arguments about "being able to put your foot out to catch yourself" as well. I've never found putting anything out in the middle of falling to do anything but providing an avenue for injuring what you "put out to catch yourself". I've crashed many times on ice and snow. Riding the bike down and letting it take the brunt of the crash is always better than trying to "catch yourself". Bruises are easier to heal than broken bones.

Originally Posted by MBurke View Post
I am considering buying a pair of winter shoes or boots. I road ride (no mountain biking)
I do use SPD cleats though.
Iv been using Gore slip over booties over my shoes but the bottoms are getting tattered...They have lasted two seasons. They are windproof..... I have had great luck with them and they have kept my feet warm just fine.
Just thinking about getting a pair of shoes or boots that would be insulated and windproof.
Anyone here use Winter Shoes/Boots ? Any suggestions on some good ones ?

Thanks
I've been using Lake MXZ303 winter boots for about 5 years now. They are much better than shoe covers. Shoe covers were always slippery when stopping at lights or just walking to the bike. They also do a better job of insulation. Mine are good down to about 0F.

45NRTH Japanthers look intriguing for warmer riding. I also use water proof Shimano shoes with waterproof socks down to about 30F when I don't want to mess with the Lakes...they are heavy.

One caveat on winter boots: They are big. Clipping the chain stay with the boot is an annoying problem. I solved that by going to iSSi pedals. The pedal part isn't why I use them but you can get longer spindles that add either 6mm or 12mm of width to the pedals. That helps a lot with wider winter shoes.

Finally, get winter shoes that are slightly larger than you would ride for summer. You want some room for thicker socks. I usually wear a 45 but for winter I can go as high as a 47 depending on the shoe. You don't want a tight fitting shoe that cuts off circulation in the cold
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Old 10-25-17, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
While I agree that they are expensive, a winter boot can last for years. Spending a couple of hundred dollars for a pair of shoes that last 10 or 15 years isn't that onerous.
Better yet, spend under a $100 for boots that will last 10 or 15 years, and you can use them off the bike, too.

Plus, most regular winter boots tend to have better traction than most of the cycling shoes out there - the cycling shoes always seem to have a hard rubber sole that doesn't grip on snow or ice. When commuting, it is inevitable that you have to put a foot down at a stop light or walk your bike at least short distances.

Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
As for clipless, I find them to be highly advantageous. Powering over snow and ice is much easier when you can pull up on the pedal and the clipless pedal adds a degree of security that platform pedals doesn't. You platform guys put all kinds of pins on your pedals to keep the shoe attached but those only act as little razor blades if you miss the pedal.
I guess that's the difference in our choice - I have never felt a significant advantage to being able to pull up on a pedal stroke on snow and ice. But I won't open up that debate again. I will say, however, that using platform pedals has saved me from falling multiple times because I could put a foot down - it wasn't very graceful, but at least I didn't go down hard.

And your presumption is wrong - no pins on my platform pedals. These are what I use:
Ergon PC2 Pedals | Jenson USA
Big stable platform, and the grip soles well, even if snowy. They are also the most comfy touring pedal I have ever used. I now have 7 or 8 pairs of cycling shoes collecting dust, and a box full of SPD pedals.

It is personal preference, but I do think that there is still a myth that clipless is always better for commuting (lots disagree).
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Old 10-26-17, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by dh024 View Post
Better yet, spend under a $100 for boots that will last 10 or 15 years, and you can use them off the bike, too.
I have boots that I can use off the bike. They last a lot longer if you aren't spraying water, ice and salt on them all the time.

Originally Posted by dh024 View Post
Plus, most regular winter boots tend to have better traction than most of the cycling shoes out there - the cycling shoes always seem to have a hard rubber sole that doesn't grip on snow or ice. When commuting, it is inevitable that you have to put a foot down at a stop light or walk your bike at least short distances.
Cycling shoes might have hard rubber soles. The boots I've suggested come with Vibram soles that aren't hard. Most mountain bike shoes don't have hard tread either. They are meant to be walked in...at least a little.

Originally Posted by dh024 View Post
I guess that's the difference in our choice - I have never felt a significant advantage to being able to pull up on a pedal stroke on snow and ice. But I won't open up that debate again. I will say, however, that using platform pedals has saved me from falling multiple times because I could put a foot down - it wasn't very graceful, but at least I didn't go down hard.
Different strokes on pulling up. I find it handy all the time, especially if I have to ride through a long expanse of soft snow or snow that has packed and unpacked bits...basically any place where I need to "power" through something.

As for "putting a foot down", as I said above, that's a good way of getting hurt (not that you can't get your foot out of a clipless pedal in a hurry). I pulled a hamstring by "putting a foot down" when the bike slide on ice. We had a mechanic at my local co-op who "put his foot down" during a crash and end up bending it the wrong way and shattering his ankle followed by 9 months of not being able to ride his bike and various complications. If he had ridden the bike down and let it take the brunt of the fall, he would have only had to deal with bruises.

More likely than not, you aren't going to "catching yourself" during a crash. It's the same error as trying to "brace for impact". That just leads to injury. There's too much momentum and your extremities are too fragile.

Originally Posted by dh024 View Post
And your presumption is wrong - no pins on my platform pedals. These are what I use:
Ergon PC2 Pedals | Jenson USA
Big stable platform, and the grip soles well, even if snowy. They are also the most comfy touring pedal I have ever used. I now have 7 or 8 pairs of cycling shoes collecting dust, and a box full of SPD pedals.
Most people opt for sharp pins.

Originally Posted by dh024 View Post
It is personal preference, but I do think that there is still a myth that clipless is always better for commuting (lots disagree).
Yes, it's personal preference but most people find that clipless is better for all cycling once they try it. Most don't go back to platforms afterwards.
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Old 10-26-17, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Yes, it's personal preference but most people find that clipless is better for all cycling once they try it. Most don't go back to platforms afterwards.
No time to carry on an argument with you, but let me summarize my initial point was that I merely suggested that people should CONSIDER going back to platforms for the benefits they might have for an INDIVIDUAL. We both have different experiences, so it is worthwhile CONSIDERING platforms. I'll NEVER go back to hard-soled, under-insulated, or expensive winter cycling boots (good luck finding one that solves all three problems), but I almost didn't try platforms again because so many people claim clipless is the ONLY way to go. Glad I didn't listen to that advice, and perhaps others may also.
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Old 10-26-17, 09:28 AM
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I have both including expensive lake boots with clips. but I prefer my arrowhead boots on flats.
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Old 10-26-17, 10:29 AM
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LAKE MXZ302 with Shimano M520 pedals/cleats:
DSCN0337 by 1nterceptor, on Flickr
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Old 10-26-17, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by dh024 View Post
No time to carry on an argument with you, but let me summarize my initial point was that I merely suggested that people should CONSIDER going back to platforms for the benefits they might have for an INDIVIDUAL. We both have different experiences, so it is worthwhile CONSIDERING platforms. I'll NEVER go back to hard-soled, under-insulated, or expensive winter cycling boots (good luck finding one that solves all three problems), but I almost didn't try platforms again because so many people claim clipless is the ONLY way to go. Glad I didn't listen to that advice, and perhaps others may also.
Platforms and insulated boots is a cheaper option than cycling winter boots. Both 45Nrth and Lake now have winter biking boots that will address two of your concerns (proper insulation and walkability) but they aren't cheap. I bought a pair of 45Nrth Wolvhammer boots last year and they are comfortable and warm. They also include some grip areas for ice. But they were also over $200. Being able to clip in is worth it for me (but when temperatures drop to -20F I will still switch to platforms and ride with Neos overboots)

As for platform pedals, most people will indeed use the kind with pins rather than those Ergon pedals with 3M grip surfaces (it appears that Ergon no longer makes the pedals). I think that the grip surface may be an issue if you have to push through deep snow (but so can be clipless pedals) but that's just my assumption as I've never tried it.

If you do use pedals with pins, the pins will tear the sole of the boots faster than regular wear. So you won't get as many years out of them.

After 13 winters in Anchorage, AK I've learned that when it comes to winter biking "whatever works for you" is the best philosophy. What is perfect for you may be a complete disaster for me.
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Old 10-26-17, 12:18 PM
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I ride clipless most of the time and there were 3 incidents - 2 stationary and 1 moving really slowly uphill in gravel where my rear wheel slipped - where I lost balance and fell with the bike because I was clipped in. In one of the instances I was able to unclip to put my foot down and prevent hitting the ground. In the other two I couldn't get the angle/force right and went down with the bike, still clipped in. These were user errors and I will continue riding clipless.

However, on snow/ice I would never want to be attached to the bike, especially on pavement - maybe if I were on very soft snow or on an open lake.
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Old 10-26-17, 12:56 PM
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might also depend on where you ride. maybe irrelevant, but last winter, during a storm, I unexpectedly broke thru some thick ice, lost control & dumped the bike. was able to hop off & not hit the ground myself. I use 1/2 clips (not clipless) w a cpl dif. kinds of hiking shoes or regular winter boots. took a pic so I would remember the hazard
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Old 10-26-17, 01:36 PM
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Winter cycling is like a snowbal...
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Old 10-26-17, 02:40 PM
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Shoe Covers is a best recommendation for winter. I'm even using Castelli Winter Narcisista shoe cover / Bootie.
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Old 10-29-17, 08:21 AM
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I use waterproof winter hiking shoes, good socks, and I put my foot, with the socks on, into plastic newspaper delivery bags.
Wind proof. Water proof. Cheap.
‘crept the shoes. I always buy Merrells.
I’ll ride on the Canal down to 5*. -12*ish with the windchill factor caused by riding.
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Old 10-29-17, 09:02 AM
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I bought the 45North Fasterkatt boots a couple of winters ago. Expensive. Rated to about 20F which for Portland, OR riding, quite sufficient.

What a pleasure to wear and ride! Didn't know my feet could feel so nice on cold wet days. Rode 80 something miles the day of respite between winter storms. So, light rain at times, in the thirties and very wet roads. I had to ford several deep streams running across the road. Rode to and then about 5 miles on gravel logging roads to a falls, then back. The boots got a real test. Walking, wet, hard gravel riding (probably climbed a thousand feet) and 70 miles of road.

So my take is this - yes real winter boots are expensive and take years to pay off and justify. But they make riding in real winters fun! And they make dressing and undressing far easier that the home made systems.

I did make one improvement. Gaters. Special gators to keep water and cold out of the boots. I bought stretchy outdoor fabric and velco. They are about 7 inches high and fitted snugly to my ankle the top 3 inches and likewise to my boot the bottom 3 inches. Velco strips on each half. I wear them under my tights and over the boots. Cozy feet!

This after nearly 50 years of other "solutions". Why did I wait so long? (Well in part because 40 years ago, these options didn't exist n bike shops I went to, no internet, blah, blah blah ...)

Edit: The Fasterkatt is 45North's next to warmest boot. Warmest goes to 5F. Based on what I have seen, that is a real 5F.

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Old 10-29-17, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
might also depend on where you ride. maybe irrelevant, but last winter, during a storm, I unexpectedly broke thru some thick ice, lost control & dumped the bike. was able to hop off & not hit the ground myself. I use 1/2 clips (not clipless) w a cpl dif. kinds of hiking shoes or regular winter boots. took a pic so I would remember the hazard
I don't see the problem with being clipped in here. So you fall over? Landing in soft snow is (except the wet part) no big deal! (In my non-car days, I did a 12 mile commute into Boston. One day it snowed all day. Rode in on fresh 5" Fun! Silent and magic. Coning home was another story. On one 2 1/2 mile parkway, un-plowed, I fell three times when I could not keep my wheels in the car ruts. Got home soaked and completely unhurt. (Riding toeclips and classic LL Bean boots. With that soft grippy tread, they did not come out fast! Even wiht loos straps.)

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Old 10-29-17, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I don't see the problem with being clipped in here. So you fall over? Landing in soft snow is (except the wet part) no big deal!
Not sure if you are being serious or cheeky here...

In case you are being serious, not all winter commutes take you through fluffy, soft, cushioning snow. In fact, I am guess almost NOBODY experiences this.

In case you are being cheeky, yep - winter commuting can hardly get safer with all that "padding" lying around you, can it?
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Old 10-29-17, 03:58 PM
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I read a lot of the typical Bike Forum solutions to a problem: spend lots of money on buying specialized equipment and gear because that has to be right. Well, maybe it is, but I don't have lots of money to spend on anything. However, I have lived in Wisconsin for 60 years and we do have winters here--very cold winters with snow and ice. I have no car so in the winter it's the bike and cargo trailer for everything and I've learned how to stay warm, including my feet.
Now I have worked outside for years before I retired and I even have a pair of boots that are rated to -100 F in case I ever do an Antarctic expedition. But riding my bike in the winter I wear a wide athletic shoe maybe a size larger than normal and 2 pairs of Merino wool socks, the greatest socks ever made for keeping your feet warm and I wear them all winter whether riding or walking.

Last year after a snow/ice storm I couldn't ride my bike so I walked and pull my cargo trailer to the fire station to fill a couple of 5 gallon buckets with free salted sand. The sidewalks had not been cleared or salted so go back home I chose a different route that was easier when I got to the driveway that lead into the apartment complex by me and there was a puddle. The trailer was a bugger to pull by hand with the full buckets so I decided to walk through the puddle since I was only a block from home. It was over my ankles--cold! cold! cold!. But even though my feet, socks, and shoes were soaked, after about 10 yards my feet began to warm up because wool retains its insulating properties even when wet.
But whatever you choose to wear on your feet on the outside, use Merino wool socks on your feet.
Ironically they are also good in warm weather because they wick the moisture away from your feet and as a bonus, they don't smell. Plus, they are not expensive.
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Old 10-29-17, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I don't see the problem and toeclips
that's good. btw I can't do the straps



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Old 10-30-17, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by dh024 View Post
No time to carry on an argument with you, but let me summarize my initial point was that I merely suggested that people should CONSIDER going back to platforms for the benefits they might have for an INDIVIDUAL. We both have different experiences, so it is worthwhile CONSIDERING platforms. I'll NEVER go back to hard-soled, under-insulated, or expensive winter cycling boots (good luck finding one that solves all three problems), but I almost didn't try platforms again because so many people claim clipless is the ONLY way to go. Glad I didn't listen to that advice, and perhaps others may also.
Winter boots that solve the "hard-soled, under-insulated": The aforementioned Lakes. 45NRTH Japanthers. 45NRTH Wlfgar. 45NRTH Wlvhammer. As well as about 3 dozen other offerings from other manufacturers. The 45NRTH offerings are probably too much of a solution for anyone that lives south of Fargo.

Who has claimed "clipless is the ONLY way to go". I said it's a better way to go for the reasons stated above. I understand the idea of being able to "jump clear of the bike" or putting out a leg to "catch yourself" but, based on personal experience and the experience of acquaintances, I've never found it to be a wise choice. You wouldn't "jump clear" of a car in the event of a crash, would you? Do you think that "jumping up" just before a plane hits the ground would save you, do you?

A bicycle has hard bits that may break when they hit the ground but breaking them is a whole lot better than breaking the soft bits of yourself. A handlebar or crank or frame can be replaced relatively easily. Broken bones because you "put a leg out to catch yourself" take a lot longer to heal and you suffer a lot more pain.
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Old 11-04-17, 09:50 AM
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bicyclridr4life
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I only use platform pedals, some with clips, most without.
To keep my toes warm in the winter, I use muckluks that are rated to -50 f.
No clips in the winter, though. The boots won't fit in them.
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Old 11-04-17, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by bicyclridr4life View Post
I only use platform pedals, some with clips, most without.
To keep my toes warm in the winter, I use muckluks that are rated to -50 f.
No clips in the winter, though. The boots won't fit in them.
Forty years ago I had a 1970 Subaru 360:

It was so small I could stick my right hand out the passenger's window. But I couldn't wear winter boots because there was not enough room between the gas pedal, brake, and clutch pedal.
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